We must understand how emotions and reason typically work before we understand how to use them. We have both beneficial and damaging use of both our emotions and rational faculties.
The Function of Reason
Reason’s function has been called the “executive utility” of our mind/brain. That’s because we have always seemed to have the idea that thinking is a rational process whereas emotions are irrational or not rational. The word “executive” is largely at fault for this kind of thinking because it gives us a false understanding of the functioning of our brains and the relative importance of both reason and emotion.
Our Emotions and Rational Faculties Evaluate Information from Different Points of View
Thoughts start with the entry of some piece of information into the mind. It can come from without or within — and within means from what we have already stored in our minds. As we start thinking about a piece of information that is in our minds, we usually begin to analyze its veracity. “Is it true or not?” we ask ourselves, and “Do we like this information or not?” The first question leads to a rational answer and the second, to an emotional response. As you can see, both how we think and feel about what is in our minds are in play.
We “Play” with Information Using Both Our Emotions and Rational faculties.
Then we begin to work with trying to understand the information as we mentally “write” it on the creative screen of our minds. As creative beings, we can “play” with it as we think about it and begin to relate it to what we know and don’t know — what we want or don’t want to support or admit, perhaps. This highlights the impressive ability we have to both think and feel things as we work with the information on the screen of our minds.
Our Sensory Faculties Enhance Our “Play”
We can do even more. Our sensory faculties can come into play. We can sense our thoughts — hearing them, tasting, touching them — and all with amazing realism and creativeness. All these sensory factors can be a part of our mental imaginings. We can also think something and then erase it. Then we can replace it with something else and repeat this process over and over again, creating whatever we desire.
It amazes me that some will try to tell us we don’t make any of these decisions because they are all the robotic actions of our brain. They say we have no freedom of decision. That is contrary to what we know of ourselves and what we all do.
Sources of Data for Decision Making Can Come from Either Faculty
Some of this data for our decision making is provided by our emotions — how we feel about what we think. Some of it comes from the more confined world of logical thinking. At times, our emotions actually correct our rational thinking because they see the facts from another more interesting or convincing perspective. Ever had that happen?
The benefit of “playing” with this information in the mind should be obvious. We can burst the bounds of reality and enter the realm of an imagined world if we like, as we do at times in our dreams. Our creative ability on the screen of our mind is endless. And we are conscious of it all, too.
Next article: Are there other things going on in our mental meanderings?
In my new book Who Am I?, I describe how we have become “crooked thinkers” and how to break out of this prison of the mind to become instruments of change for a better world by recognizing the source of our value as humans. You can get your copy HERE. (Psst! Subscribers to my weekly updates can receive a 15% discount and free shipping from the above link!)
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Our Emotions In Our Beliefs
Emotions give meaning to life, so emotions give meaning to our beliefs as well. In fact, emotions play a large part in the way we think about our beliefs. The feelings we have (which are our emotions) impact our minds and prove to be a fundamental force behind all we think.
Some Beliefs Become Our Values
Our values (which are beliefs that are given the honor of the front row seats among our beliefs) are so important that one of the temperaments (NF) tends to make decisions based on their values alone most of the time. We actually “feel” our values more than we feel our beliefs and our thoughts. It takes a lot to change our values because they are so well grounded in our mental system. The goals of our emotions (remember emotions have goals toward which they move with determination) that are embedded in our values can soon become the basic goals of our lives.
Emotions Drive Our Actions
Therefore, emotions are also the driving force in our actions because emotions are the driving force in our values and beliefs, which lead to our actions. All this speaks loudly of the need to evaluate our emotions carefully and with much thought and then choose the right emotions for the fashioning of the life we want. For example, do we want to nurse anger and resentment, because if we do these emotions will lead to the shaping of our lives. Action? Evaluate your beliefs and values. Are they the ones you want to mold and shape your life?
Ask these questions of your emotions, beliefs, and values:
- Where will my emotions, beliefs, and values lead me in life?
- What will they make of me?
- Can I live without them and be happier and more fulfilled?